The new seal of Saint Francis de Sales Parish is based on the family coat of arms of Saint Francis de Sales.
In the middle of the thirteenth century Pierre de Sales, the Count of Savoy, was leading an army to assist the Crusades at Rhodes. In the midst of a furious storm two shooting stars appeared over the deck of their ship.
De Sales, an accomplished mariner, knew that the storm would soon cease, and the fleet of Christian forces would arrive in time to assist in the battle against the Saracens.
As a reward for his part in the Christian victory, the Count was given a coat of arms with the twin stars and the gold Saracen crest. Pierre de Sales was an ancestor of Francis de Sales.
Bishop Francis de Sales used his family crest as his episcopal shield.
To make the coat of arms particular to our parish, three changes have been made. The twin stars and crescent have been retained at the top of the shield, recalling Philip de Sales’ victory over the Saracens, the crest of the De Sales family and Saint Francis’ ministry as a bishop.
The gold and red bars of the crest have become wavy, recalling the wavy bars of the seal of the Diocese of Columbus, which depicts Christopher Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria, sailing over the wavy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Our parish is part of the Catholic family of the Diocese of Columbus.
At the bottom of the shield is a fleur-de-lis, a stylized representation of the lily, a familiar symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During a difficult moment in his young life as a university student, afflicted by scruples influenced by the Calvinist heresy, Francis de Sales made a pilgrimage to the Parisian Church of Saint Etienne-des-Gres and prayed at the Shrine of Our Lady of Deliverance. Imploring the intercession of the Mother of God, through the Memorare prayer, Francis was immediately relieved of his religious anxiety.
The fleur-de-lis also represents Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception. At a time when the dogma had not been defined and theological opinion varied on its necessity, Francis was a great proponent and defender of this singular and unique privilege of Jesus’ mother. His devotion was such that his episcopal choir robes, in her honor, were always tailored in blue instead of the customary red purple.
The shield is surrounded by the name given our parish in 1842 by the great French missionary Father Jean-Baptiste Lamy, later the renowned Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, made immortal in American Western literature by Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop and the historian Paul Horgan’s Pulitzer Prize winning work Lamy of Santa Fe.
Early in 1841, John McCarthy bought a two-acre plot of land located on Granville near Sixth Street. On May 21, 1842 the property was transferred to Bishop Purcell for the use of the Catholic Church for the residents of Newark. Fr. Jean Baptiste Lamy, pastor of Danville, who served Newark and surrounding missions, became pastor and built a small church in honor of St. Francis de Sales.
In 1854 Fr. Frederic Bender became pastor and realized the need for a larger church. A second building was built on the present site and a second story was added to the original church building which was moved to the rear of the property and was used as a school. A residence for priests was built on the corner of Pearl and Granville, the former O’Boylan Hall.
By 1887 the parish had grown to over 2,000 parishioners and was regarded as one of the largest in the Diocese of Columbus. Fr. William Hayes built a third church which we now occupy.
Fr. McGinty purchased the current residence for priests and administration offices in 1946.
In 1993, under the direction of Msgr. Bill Johnson, the Lamy Center was built. The building, connected to both the church and the school, serves as a Parish Center and also houses offices and classrooms.
The church has undergone several renovations, the most recent being 2010 with the internal redecoration of the church, including refurbishment of the pews, painting, and new flooring. In 2012, the organ under went a much needed and long overdue refurbishment.